Tiger Woods Dangerous Game

By Randall MellAugust 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' The mans a menace.
Thats meant as respectfully as it can be alleged.
Tiger Woods is a brilliant, extraordinary but confounding menace.
Tiger Woods PGA Championship
Tiger Woods confidently watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the second round of the 91st PGA Championship. (Getty Images)

If you love sport, and by that I mean the fiercest competition, with uncertain outcomes driving you to the edge of your seat in anticipation of heart-thumping drama, then Woods is continuing to ruin golf for you.
With his 2-under-par 70 in blustery winds Friday at the PGA Championship, Woods grabbed yet another 36-hole lead in a major.
You know what that means.
Hes about to wreck another weekend at the majors.
He is, after all, 8-0 with a 36-hole lead, or share of the lead, in major championships.
He has won the last 12 times he has had the 36-hole lead or share of it in any event.
Yeah, I know, theres always a first and maybe this is the weekend Woods finally blows a major, but its a lousy bet.
His four-shot lead isnt what convinces you hes poised to win his 15th major. Its the way he stalked his ball on the back nine.
After Woods hit his tee shot at the 15th hole, he did that elegant little thing with the club, the thing he likes to do when hes feeling his powers taking hold, that little twirl. Before the ball even landed, he was strutting to his bag, a subtle but unmistakable strut. You can almost feel what hes feeling when hes like that. You see him move that way, and you hear Muhammad Ali singing in your head. You hear Ali singing: I am the greatest. I am King of the World. Of course, Woods would never say that, but he doesnt have to with body language as articulate as his.
Woods worked his way into that zone of his on the back nine.
At the 14th hole, with the tees up to 299 yards, Woods drove the green. The remarkable thing is that he did it with his 3-wood. In fact, he knocked his ball 25 feet past the hole. Padraig Harrington and Rich Beem, playing beside him, didnt reach the green with their drivers. They both plunked their shots in the front left bunker.
Woods two-putted there, tapping in for birdie. He also tapped in for birdie at the 15th, a 642-yard par 5.
Back-to-back tap-in birdies on the longest course in major championship history is a bit disconcerting to the competition.
Harrington started the day a shot back of Woods, and give him credit, he put up another game fight. Harrington hit a magnificent second shot from a fairway bunker at the 15th, knocking the shot stiff from 301 yards. It was brilliant play to 12 feet, though he missed the eagle putt. Still, when Woods rolled in his third consecutive birdie, a 25-footer at the 16th, Harrington looked weary. The switch to that famed Harrington glare, where it looks like his eyes are going to pop out of his head, was turned off there.
Harrington kept coming back all day. Three times he came from behind to pull even with Woods, but he couldnt keep up when Woods found his twirl and mojo and on the back nine.
With swirling winds, Woods was the only player among the top 16 starting the day who was able to break par.
Woods isnt taking his front-running record for granted.
Youve got to go out and play those shots, Woods said. Just because I did it [the last 12 times with a 36-hole lead] doesnt do a damn bit of good tomorrow.'
If only he could make us lovers of sport actually believe him.
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